Poem: Jennifer Soong

Steps to Undergo for Whom It Concerns

Head-first into the ground, hammered with wet nails that turn to glass in your ears. Rain cracks the geopolitical code from barrels shooting fraught skies. When the nation recedes faster than it arrives and morning is embezzlement into our dreams, who will be allowed to say. And who will lie. And who in this world will be left to mourn.

A stunning description you entwine around your finger and suck it dry. Safe by reduction you segue into the negative end of benches too cold for fucking. Red leaves and a group. A chain should be allowed to like and unlike, break occasionally from its freedom. When something hurts, it is to say I hereby acknowledge how we got caught up in our parts—vanishing in one another. There’s something to be said about learning how to distinguish, then intersperse, the pain with the pressure.

What of the margin makes it sad. I’d like to forge from it an entire pie you are obligated to eat. By this point, every substitution of subjective position has stuttered. Call it stage fright. Call it a “manner akin to the living being.” Plato goes on: “the living being had no need of eyes when there was nothing remaining outside of him to be seen; and there was no surrounding atmosphere to be breathed.”

Contrary to the conflation of fear and desire, the pornographic love, like imagination, cannot crash. Fault is a shape of time as it fractures into a gray platform of disappointment’s performance. Think of the smooth sensation. The softness. The weak light exterminating the glass with a wind-like caress. Slap-slap. Conglomerations of matters mutual-but-not-equal constitute the process of polysemous dazzling. I download the e-history of alienation. What you make is a loss of your life. But how to kill the positivist statement. There is a relativity to what loneliness you can still call yours.

Jennifer Soong is a New Jersey– and New York–based poet. She received her B.A. from Harvard University and is currently an English doctoral candidate at Princeton University, where she studies poetry and poetics with additional interests in guilt/shame, aesthetics, and Marxist theory. Her most recent poems have been published or are forthcoming in Prelude Magazine and DIAGRAM. She is also the poetry editor at Nat. Brut.

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